1505 - Arrival of Portuguese - They first
occupied the low country Sinhalese areas in the south west of the Island.
1621 - Jaffna Tamil Kingdom fell to the
Portuguese (more than a century later).
1656 - Dutch occupied areas which were
under Portuguese control.
1802 - Treaty of Amiens - Dutch
possessions ceded to the British.
1815 - The Sinhalese Kandyan Kingdom in
the central parts conquered by the British, having annexed the Tamil Vanni Kingdom in the
1833 -The British unified the island
based on the recommendations of Cole Brook - Cameron Commission (purely for administrative
1931 - Donoughmore constitution - State
Council elected by Universal suffrage (the first people to exercise universal suffrage in
1947 - Soulbury constitution adopted
& general elections held for the parliament of Ceylon.
1948 - British grant independence under
the Soulbury constitution.
The parliament, with its entrenched Sinhalese majority, legislates to disenfranchise
Tamils of [recent] Indian origin who have lived there for generations and have always exercised
their franchise. The Tamil people lost almost half of their representation in the
The state aided colonisation of Sinhalese people in Tamil areas promoted to annex Tamil
homelands and further reduce Tamil representation in the parliament.
1956 - The Sinhalese Language was made
the only official language by legislation, disadvantaging Tamil people in dealing with the
state administration and denying them equal access to education and employment.
1957 - Bandaranaike - Chelvanayakam Pact
between the Sinhalese Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and Tamil leader SJV Chelvanayakam
QC to meet some of the demands of the Tamil people.
1958 - The Pact was unilaterally
abrogated by the Sinhalese Prime Minister to pacify the extreme elements among the
Sinhalese Buddhists. (He is the father of the President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Kumaratunga (1995 - ) He was assassinated by a Buddhist monk for his pact with the Tamils in 1959.
1965 - Senanayake - Chelvanayakam Pact -
entered into, with another Sinhalese Prime minister Dudley Senanayake, and was never
implemented by the Sinhalese government.
1969 - The Privy Council in London
directs the Supreme Court in Sri Lanka to review the constitutionality of the Official
Language Act, since it violated s.29(2) the constitution.
1971 - The government responds by
abolishing appeals to Privy Council. The Tamil people's only avenue to seek justice
through independent judiciary came to an end.
1972- The new Republican Constitution was
adopted and imposed on the Tamil people without their consent.
The only legal
safeguard provided by the entrenched section 29(2) of the Soulbury constitution, described
by the Privy Council in London that they "represent the solemn balance of rights
between the citizens of Ceylon, the fundamental condition on which inter se they accepted
the constitution; and these are therefore unalterable under the constitution", was
Tamil parties walked out of the constituent assembly. With this Tamil participation of the democratic process in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) came to an end.
1973 - Through a process of
standardization the government restricts entry of Tamil students to universities and
institutions of higher education.
1974 - The 4th International
Tamil literary conference in Jaffna was broken up by the police, where many died and
several were injured.
1976 - All the main Tamil political
parties unite under the leadership of SJV Chelvanayakam QC and at their First National
"The Convention resolves that the restoration and reconstitution of
the Free, Sovereign, Secular, Socialist state of Tamil Eelam based on the right of
self-determination inherent to every nation has become inevitable in order to safeguard
the very existence of the Tamil nation in this country."
1977 - Historical mandate of the Tamil
people - The Tamil people gave a clear mandate at the general elections to establish
their sovereignty. The manifesto called for:
in the general Election the mandate of the Tamil Nation to
establish an independent, sovereign, secular, socialist State of Tamil Eelam that includes
all the geographically contiguous areas that have been the traditional homeland of the
Tamil-speaking people in the country.
"The Tamil nation must take the decision to establish its sovereignty
in its homeland on the basis of its right to self-determination. The only way to announce
this decision to the Sinhalese Government and to the world is to vote for TULF. The
Tamil-speaking representatives who get elected through these votes while being members of
the National State Assembly of Tamil Eelam which will draft a constitution for the state
of Tamil Eelam and establish the independence of Tamil Eelam by bringing that constitution
into operation either by peaceful means or by direct action or struggle".
The Tamil resolution also called on
"The Tamil youth in particular to come forward to throw themselves
fully in the sacred fight for freedom and flinch not till the goal of a sovereign
socialist state of Tamil Eelam is reached".
(The Sinhalese Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1970 to
1977 was Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranalke the present Prime Minister and the mother of the President Chandrika Kumaratunge [1995 - ).
The Anti-Tamil Violence - The Tamil people have
been subjected periodically to communal violence. There have been anti-Tamil riots and
pogroms in 1956,1958,1977 and culminating in the 1983 massacres and holocaust.
Military occupation & Police brutality - First
in 1961 and then in 1974, 1979, 1981 and from 1983. Many historical monuments including
temples and churches were destroyed. (Attested in two reports by the International
Commission of Jurists, and in several other reports of independent international human
The armed struggle by the LTTE on behalf of the Tamil
people arose as a rebellion against the tyranny of the Sinhalese state and its brutal
repression of Tamil people. It is a just cause in pursuance of their democratic
aspirations, and the historic mandate, and therefore is lawful.
1983 - Sri Lanka commenced arbitrary
arrests and detention without trial, torture and rape, violence against women, summary
executions of the Tamil people. The era of mass exodus of Tamil refugees internally and
1987 - UN Resolution on Sri Lanka country
situation for violation of Human Rights. Unsuccessful Indo Sri Lanka Accord and the
occupation of Tamil territories by Indian Army. India commenced deliberate and
indiscriminate bombing and shelling of Tamil territories.
1990 - Withdrawal of Indian Forces.
Unsuccessful Negotiations with United National Party Government. Sri Lanka recommenced
deliberate and indiscriminate bombings of Tamil territories. Economic Embargo enforced to
the North and part of the East.
1995 to date - Unsuccessful Negotiations
with People Alliance Government, with resumption of the war.